December 15, 2010
Study: Fabric Softener Sheets Really Do Repel Gnats
Scientists prove Bounce sheets fend off insect pests
For years, gardeners have claimed that putting BounceÃ® fabric softener sheets in their pockets is an effective way to repel pests like mosquitoes and gnats. Any Internet search will uncover countless articles about the bug-repelling properties of BounceÃ®. Are these claims valid or simply folklore? The authors of a new study say that until now, no quantitative data has existed to substantiate these claims, but their latest research has revealed a definitive answer: BounceÃ® sheets do indeed repel adult gnats.
The research team also analyzed the volatile compounds in the dryer sheets using gas chromatography"“mass spectrometry. One of the major volatile compounds detected in BounceÃ® was linalool, a colorless monoterpene alcohol used by cosmetic and perfume companies for its flower-like odor. Linalool"”present naturally in plants such as lavender, marjoram, and basil"”has been shown to be toxic to a number of different mites and insects. The experiments also indicated high levels of the volatile compound beta-citronellol, found in plants including rose geranium, citronella, and lemon balm, and known for its ability to repel mosquitoes.
The authors say there are still important issues that need to be resolved before BounceÃ® can be widely recommended, but note that in the future, "the use of dryer sheets may be an alternative strategy to deal with fungus gnat populations in greenhouses."
On the Net:
- The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS HortScience electronic journal web site: http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/45/12/1830